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Metal Coating: A Brief History

Dec 21 '16

Metal Coating: A Brief History

Metal spraying has developed as a low cost solution to extend the life of components and machinery. The process essentially involves heating metal with twin arc wires then applying lots of pressure to it, to achieve a spray coating that sticks to almost any surface and provides durability, hardness, and rust resistance. It is popular in manufacturing and minerals industries, as well as in electronics and even the automotive industry. But where did the idea come from, and what are the applications?

Where and when metal spraying began

Metal spraying and thermal spraying (a similar process using other materials like ceramics) have been around since the early 1900s. Swiss inventor Dr Max Ulrich Schoop is considered the father of thermal spray technologies because he submitted the first two patents in Switzerland and Germany in 1909, before opening his own factory in 1910 to further develop the process.

Schoop released the first Schoopsche metal spray gun and began offering second-hand metallisations in Zurich to support his ventures. More than a century later the technology has developed and expanded to almost every industry imaginable, with metal coating providing a huge range of benefits.

The benefits

Metal spraying achieves a dense, even coat without using solvents or chemicals. The result is a custom finish that extends the life of components of any size and shape. The advantage of metal spraying over galvanising is there is no limit to the size of the piece being coated. The main benefits of adding a metal sprayed outer coating are:

  • Increased durability and better wear resistance
  • Improved hardness
  • Custom change in friction
  • Increased corrosion protection
  • Change electrical conductivity
  • Low cost method to repair damaged or worn material

Where it’s used

Nowadays metal spraying is found in almost every conceivable industry from large projects like construction, power generation, aircraft, and even space travel, to the smallest electronic components and everything in between. The reason for use varies in each industry; for example in electronics metal spraying might be used to improve the conductivity and durability of parts, where the mining industry would employ the process to get the most life out of heavily used parts.

Why it’s important in Australian industries

Metal spraying is used right across the board in Australia to improve efficiency, productivity, and durability in heavy use situations. Because so much of our economy revolves around the manufacturing, construction, and mining industries – and increasingly the technology (electronics) industry – good quality parts are vital. Downtime and constant replacements cause cost overruns and missed targets in these industries, so metal coating plays an important role in keeping parts and machinery moving.

Metal spraying is constantly improving and adapting as new industries demand parts that last. New Metal Surfaces are Perth’s experts in thermal spraying and metal coatings. We provide industry-leading low cost finishes in a huge range of thicknesses with the goal of improving efficiency and extending the life of your parts. Get in touch to find out what solutions we provide and ask how we can extend the life of your machinery.

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